Kentucky Football: While not pretty Wildcats gutsy performance sweet win

Kentucky’s Will Levis
Kentucky’s Will Levis /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky returned to its roots and Rodriguez carried the load

Chris Rodriguez also isn’t the flashy one on the field but he is built for the Kentucky tradition of hard-nosed running the ball and that was clearly on display Saturday night.

With the stadium already pumping with energy, Kentucky didn’t need all the flashy plays and trickery that Coen has in his playbook. Sure they got the big dynamic one from Wan’Dale Robinson to keep the Tiger offense on its heels, but they needed Rodriguez to churn up yards.

Robinson took the jet sweep for 64 yards to the Missouri eight-yard line to set up C-Rod’s first score.  He also pulled in a 49-yard completion from Levis to set his quarterback for a score and a 21-7 lead.

They needed all of this, but they needed Rodriguez to keep the offense flowing.

The junior from McDonough, Georgia, also caught a pass for a touchdown. His four touchdowns tied a school record.

Rodriguez must have said give me that ball when he opened the second half after fumbling the ball away at the goal line just before the end of the first half. He rambled 31-yards and then 3 more yards for the touchdown and became Kentucky’s 10th running back with 20 rushing touchdowns.

In his Kentucky career, he has now rushed for 1,692 yards which moves him into 16th place overall.

By the time he had finished running up and down Kroger Field, he became Kentucky’s first 200-yard rusher in a game since Lynn Bowden’s 233 against Virginia Tech in the 2019 Belk Bowl.